STEAM Saturday – Kwanzaa Kinara Art! (12/16/2023)


We are thoroughly enjoying the holiday season, and we love learning new things while exploring all of the different celebrations that happen this time of year. So far, we have covered Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas. Today, we thought we would focus on the “A” in STEAM – Art – while making a colorful Kwanzaa Kinara!

KinaraWhat is a Kinara? Kinara is a Swahili word that means “candle holder.” The Kinara holds seven candles, each of which represents a different principle of Kwanzaa. Each day during Kwanzaa, a candle on the Kinara is lit to shed light on one of the principles: Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith). After lighting the candle, celebrants typically engage in activities that further help them to grasp the principle of the day. This can include reading a quote or poem, eating special food, listening to special music, and more.

Let’s use our Kuumba (Creativity) to build our very Kinara! This fun project can be done with items you may already have laying around your home. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 6 toilet paper rolls
  • 1 paper towel roll
  • A piece of cardboard at least 12” long and 3” wide
  • Yellow card stock or construction paper
  • Red, green, gold, and black paint
  • Red, black, and green sequins (optional)
  • Gold glitter (optional)
  • Mini craft sticks
  • Scissors
  • Glue (preferably a hot glue gun and glue sticks as well as tacky glue)
  • Foam brush

KinaraFirst, let’s create the base for our Kinara. Cut out a piece of cardboard that is 12” long and 3” wide, then paint it gold. Next, paint your candle holders paint three toilet paper rolls green and the other three red, then paint the paper towel roll black. Now that we have our candle holders painted, we can create our flames. Cut out 7 teardrop shapes from your yellow cardstock or construction paper, and glue each one to the tip of a craft stick. If you have gold glitter, you can put some glue on each flame and sprinkle glitter on to make it look more like a gleaming fire. If you have red, black, and green sequins, glue them to the painted (and now dry) candle holders. Make sure that your sequins are the same color as the candle holders.

Now, glue your candle holders to the base of your Kinara. The black paper towel tube goes in the middle, with all of the red candle holders to the left of the black tube, and all of the green candle holders to the right.

Glue the bottom of each craft stick to the inside of one of the candle holders so that the flame can be seen coming out of the top. You can do this all at once, or you can “light” each candle on a different night of Kwanzaa.

Check out the full project and more Kwanzaa activities from Crafting a Fun Life HERE.

As always, get as creative as you want, and above all, have lots of fun learning together!

We’ll see you right back here next Saturday for another STEAM Saturday activity!  Scroll through the rest of our website to learn how Critchlow Adkins is Building Brighter Futures for the children and families we serve!

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